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10 years of Wikipedia

Wikipedia is celebrating ten years today.

This is an example of the amazing democratization of information the internet and Web 2.0 have wrought. Other examples include things such as blogs, social networking sites, and “sharing” services like YouTube. Web 2.0 gives easy access to pretty much whatever information you want (no guarantees of quality, though). Web 2.0 also gives you easy access to other people. In many ways, we all know more facts and more people.

In light of my comments above, Wikipedia is an excellent example of Web 2.0. It is certainly more accurate than some random rant page, if only because so many people see it. This also has disadvantages, as it is obvious that a lot more people are interested in celebrities than in third world legislators. Hence, the surplus of coverage in one area and the deficiency in the other. Other problems might be the bureaucracy and power structure behind the users.

All in all, Wikipedia is far from perfect; one of the reasons it got so big was because it got started first. There are certain to be challenges in the years ahead, as society and the internet continue to evolve.

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Comments on: "10 years of Wikipedia" (3)

  1. It’s a trade-off. Now, it’s possible to know anything for free at any time, but you have to go and verify what you learned is true. However, I guess it’s still better than school. Approved curriculum doesn’t necessarily equal true. What you learn in lessons maybe just as flawed as, or even more flawed than Wikipedia. At least, if you’re already on Wikipedia, you can keep searching to verify the facts.

    Wikipedia is a good thing as a whole only if you know you’re dealing with an inaccurate democratised information service. I’ve met so many Wikipedia fanboys who would defend it to the death, and even say teachers should allow you to use it as a source in a research paper. Then I find one inaccuracy in ten minutes to prove its inaccuracy and they say, “Well mostly–”

    “Shut up. I only HAVE to find one inaccuracy to prove its inaccuracy.”

    But I digress. It’s a decent tool if you know how to use it.

  2. It’s also harder to hide information.

  3. Harder to hide it but easier to fake it.

    I mean, look at WikiLeaks. A great resource for exposing government secrets, but no real way to verify that they’re actually government secrets.

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